It was a lighter agenda compared to past meetings for Weyburn City Council Monday night, but a lot was covered in the meeting. In addition to the regular reports to council, a key tender for 2017 was voted on, and the entrance feature for the Riverwood neighbourhood was discussed.

The most discussion at the meeting came during the presentation from NICOR about the front entrance feature for the Riverwood neighbourhood. Riverwood is a relatively newer development in Weyburn, being built on the grounds where the Souris Valley Hospital once stood. The features which would be built at the end of Saskatchewan Drive, west of King Street.

NICOR went before council to seek support from council on the new design for the feature, as in previous years, council had voted to cover a third of the costs of the project to build the feature. The original design was done before the company knew what materials there would be to work with.

“It is not a throwaway structure,” said Ross Keith with NICOR, who spoke at the council meeting. “It doesn’t make sense to have these elements in a pile, and using a stucco structure.” He said the entrance elements would be constructed from the recovered materials from the hospital, to preserve some of the heritage of a building that was the largest in the British Empire at one point in time.

The lintels from the portico would be used in the construction as would brick, and other materials. The overall design, which was done in house by Derek Tomlin with NICOR, would consist of two feature at the east entrance, with the possibility of a west entrance feature as well. The roundabout style boulevard at the end of Saskatchewan Drive would also be landscaped, and designed to add to the overall look of the structure, complete with space for possibly a statue of flagpole.

The representatives from NICOR then took questions from the city councillors, with many wanting to find out more information. The first to make an inquiry was Councillor Jeff Richards. He wanted to know what the timeline would be for the project. He was told work is expected to start on the features as soon as possible, as NICOR is planning an aggressive sales campaign for the properties in the Riverwood neighbourhood in the spring.

Councillor Michel asked about the three entrance features discussed, and it was clarified there are two being built now, with the possibility of a third at the Queen Street entrance in the distant future. The city’s involvement would be limited to just the two features planned for the east entrance off Saskatchewan Drive. Michel also asked about the rough cost, and was told as things stand now, it is less than the original budgeted cost, to around $180,000. The representatives from the developer said any additional work will not exceed the original budget.

The motion to approve the design was then introduced by Richards, and was approved unanimously by city council.

An update on the post office bell monument was provided to council in the report from the Parks Board, which actually kicked off the meeting. The board is waiting for quotes for the finishing of the roof structure. The wording for the plaque was approved, and the board has opted to go with a bronze plaque. The unveiling will happen once the construction is complete, and the boar dis hoping that cane be by February 20th.

The planning for Winterfest is well underway. The annual event will take place on Family Day, which is February 20th. There will be outdoor activities, as well as indoor crafts at the Leisure Centre. A public swim will be held, and there will also be public skating.

The naming rights for Elks Park was also discussed, as the sign does need to be replaced. There is no new funding expected for the naming rights of the park, so it will remain Elks Park for the time being. The city will be working to replace the sign, but is not proactively seeking a sponsor at this time.

In the Leisure Services committee report, presented by Councillor Dick Michel, it was announced that former city councillor Laura Morrissette has been named to the committee for a two year term. Leanne Cretin also had her term extended for one year by the board, but a motion will still be required from city council. The motion will be presented at the meeting on January 9th.

There was also an update on the Go Out And Play Challenge, which is held in the province each year. The challenge is to get the community to get outdoors and be active. The community with the total number of minutes receives a $10,000 prize to go towards a project which inspires outdoor play. At this time, the city doesn’t have any initiatives planned for the challenge, which is still a few months away. Last year, Weyburn came in 4th.

The tender for the chemicals used at the water treatment plant was the next item up on the agenda for City Council. The recommendations put forward were accepted by the council, and approved unanimously. The companies that will be supplying the chemicals for 2017 are Univar Canada, Brenntag Canada, ClearTech Industries, Borden Chemical, Canada Colors and Veolia.

Council voted to appoint Morrissette to the environmental committee. Morrissette served on the committee when she was a city councillor.

When the floor was opened for announcements and inquiries from the councillors, Michel announced he will be looking into the issue of sidewalks in the city. He explained a number of residents had voiced concern with the state of sidewalks in Weyburn, and he said he is endeavouring to walk every sidewalk in the city starting in the spring, and take a survey of the state of the sidewalks.

City Manager Bob Smith then advised council of the resignation of Drew Bakken. The city’s planning and development officer, he had started at city hall in July of 2013. He has been recruited by the city of Prince George, and starts in the new year. His final day with the city will be December 23rd. In the interim, the city will be without a development officer, so Smith asked residents, and councillors, to be mindful of small delays during the process.

Finally, Mayor Marcel Roy thanked the city administration, city employees, and the councillors for the work that is done by the city every year, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

The next meeting for the council will be held on January 9th. It will start in chambers, at 6:00 p.m.

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